Goodreads synopsis: Ashlyn McVean doesn't believe in fairy tales. That is, until Ashlyn is thrown into the crosshairs of grudges her grandmother created long ago. After finding out she is one of two people able to cross between faerie realms, Ashlyn is faced with trying to understand her abilities, along with navigating a new relationship with her boyfriend, Liam. As if being on a centuries old hit list and dealing with crazed pixies isn't enough, her new abilities mean trouble for Liam. Knowing her new life puts everyone she loves in danger, Ashlyn must decide what's most important in her life between friends, family, love, and ultimately, realms.
I honestly did not know what to expect from this debut novel. I’m not well versed in faerie lore (despite being half Irish), and have not read many books where faeries factor so prominently in the tale.
The novel did not draw me in immediately, I found myself questioning characters’ motives and the timing of events. The opening scene is the sudden, tragic, and very unexpected death of Ashlyn’s father. Of course, this event proves of utter importance later in the novel, but at the onset it felt rushed. Without a doubt, the first chapter of any novel is the most difficult to write—how much back story is too much, how does one control pacing, what do readers need to know immediately, these are all questions any author struggles with.
Once I got out of the first chapter, I found myself drawn into the actual story and began seeing events through Ashlyn’s eyes. Most readers will be able to recall their awkward teenage years and will understand what it must be like to balance one’s own changing world with trying to figure out where one fits in the larger picture. Ashlyn finds herself bound for Ireland—the chapters that took place in Ireland were some of my favorites—where she quickly finds there is more to her family than meets the eye.
Readers learn with Ashlyn that there are multiple realms and a war has been waging for hundreds of years of which most humans are blissfully unaware. Most importantly (to me at least), Ashlyn meets Liam. Yeah, yeah, faeries are cool, but c’mon—Liam is tall, has black hair, blue eyes, an Irish brogue, and is completely dedicated to keeping Ash safe---what more could a girl ask for? And here is where Megan Curd won me over—despite having a handsome and very capable boy whose sole mission in life is protecting her, Ashlyn is very much self-sufficient; indeed, she rescues him as much as he rescues her. No wimpy female protagonist waiting to be swept up by prince charming here. Bridger, as a whole, is full of strong female characters, which is something I love to see in literature.
Upon meeting Liam and his family, Ashlyn’s world is turned (even more) upside down and she must come to terms with the fact that her days as an ordinary high school student are long gone. To her credit, she does try to maintain some sense of normalcy, but it seems this is not in the cards for her.
The action of the novel moves along at a good pace and there is a hefty dose of romance and tension thrown in to keep the novel well-rounded. Readers will find themselves choosing sides and cheering on characters as they are pulled along on this roller-coaster ride with Ashlyn.
As this is the first in a series, the novel ends with a cliffhanger; however, it does also stand alone on its own merits. I am eager to see how the series progresses, I anticipate seeing more of the other realms in the forthcoming follow-up. In all, this is a solid entry to the YA fantasy genre and I’m looking forward to following Megan Curd as her career progresses.